Let's celebrate the Downton Abbey movie's star-studded premiere with a look at one of its formidable new characters.
The Downton Abbey movie had its red carpet premiere in London on Monday evening, Sept. 9, 2019. The film won't be opening in wide release until Sept. 20 in the States, but the early reviews are out. It looks like the hit show has translated well to the big screen. The cast looked radiant on the red carpet. Check out the photos of the actors and actresses who make up the Crawley family.
And here's Dame Maggie Smith:
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Downton fans are understandably curious to see what happens when the King and Queen come to visit the Earl of Grantham and his family. But the real joy in returning to this house is to see all the residents once more, from upstairs to down. But perhaps no Downton character is more anticipated than the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley, played by Maggie Smith. She was the last to sign on to the film, and the most important. Her barbed wit has always been the jolt of acid that makes the sympathetic wheels of the family turn.
But the film has one small problem. Violet's main foil, Isobel Crawley, the thoroughly middle-class mother of Matthew, has finally married into the landed gentry. Though the two will always have their back and forths, they no longer qualify as proper frenemies for the series' purpose. To that end, the film had to introduce a brand new figure for Violet to take on.
Meet Lady Maud Bagshaw:
If she seems familiar, she should. That's Imelda Staunton, best known in America as the genuinely evil Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series, who was a foil for Smith's Professor McGonagall. (She's also the real-life wife of Jim Carter, a.k.a. Mr. Carson.) Fans who remember the Umbridge vs. McGonagall scenes in the later installments of the Potter franchise can only imagine how delicious this toe-to-toe will be. As for "Smith" as Violet refers to her, that's Tuppence Middleton, who fans will recognize from War & Peace and Dickensian.
Smith may have secrets, but unlike her employer, she most likely won't be the cause of any uproar downstairs. That's reserved for David Haig (last seen as Bill in Killing Eve's first season). He is the The Royal Butler. Along with The Royal Chef (Philippe Spall), he will be causing all sorts of drama below stairs as the two decide the current Downton staff is simply not up to royal snuff.
With the royal visit breathing down the necks of the Crawley family, Robert and Mary turn to a familiar face for help: the now-retired Carson. As one can imagine, Barrow does not take it well. But then again, the difference between the two is exemplified by their reactions to the situation.
The Downton Abbey movie opens in theaters on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Excited yet?)